Dr Esther Dermott

Dr Esther Dermott

Dr Esther Dermott
University Research Fellow in Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Reader in Sociology

2.01, 11 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)


Telephone Number (0117) 928 7505

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

Before coming to the Department of Sociology at Bristol, I was a Research Fellow at the Gender Institute LSE, temporary lecturer at the University of Essex and Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge.


My research is on intimacy and family life, work, and poverty and inequality.

Intimate Fatherhood was published in 2008 by Routledge and challenges the dominance of the breadwinning ideal, argues for the rise of ‘intimate fatherhood’; and sets out a new framework for thinking about men’s parenting. My edited book Displaying Families (with Julie Seymour) (Palgrave 2011) examining current themes in the theorisation of personal/ family life focusing on the significance of credibility and audience in family practices. My most recent writing has included commentaries on the relationship between parenting and poverty, and work-life balance; interrogating commonplace, political and policy views of parenting. I am currently writing a book Intimacy and Personal Life (to be published by Palgrave).

I am currently working on two funded research projects. I am a co-investigator on the £4.3 million ESRC funded ‘Poverty in the United Kingdom: The 2010 Survey’ http://www.poverty.ac.uk (on which I will be contributing analysis in relation to gender and parenting) and have been awarded funding from the British Academy for a pilot project on Fragile Fathering: negotiating intimacy and risk in parenting practice (with J Gabb, OU) which will begin in spring 2012.


On the Sociology undergraduate programme I teach the core first year unit ‘Doing Social Research’ and a combination of optional second/third year units including ‘Intimacy and Personal Life’. I also currently convene the third year dissertation unit. In addition I have a Masters unit on ‘Understanding Intimacy’. I have a number of research students who are working on issues around parenting, family, intimacy, time, inequality and work and I welcome applications in these areas.

Current PhD students

Jonah Bury

Alex Bryson

Natasha Carver

Alexandra Dimmock

Esther Lumutenga

Shakira Lewis

Heather Phillips

Katharina Taumberger

Fields of interest

Families; parenting; fatherhood; work; employment; gender; inequality; poverty

Key publications

  1. Dermott, E 2008, ‘Intimate Fatherhood’. Routledge
  2. Dermott, E & Seymour, J 2011, ‘Displaying Families: a new concept for the sociology of family life’. Palgrave Macmillan
  3. Dermott, E 2012, ‘‘Troops to Teachers’: solving the problem of working-class masculinity in the classroom?’. Critical Social Policy, vol 32., pp. 223 - 241
  4. Dermott, E 2008, ‘Les hommes et la relation à l’emploi: “L’argent n’est pas tout et ne règle pas tout”’. in: P Gaborit (eds) Genre, temps sociaux et parentés. L'Harmattan, pp. 145 - 189
  5. Dermott, E 2006, ‘What's parenthood got to do with it?: men's hours of paid work’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 57 (4)., pp. 619 - 634

Latest publications

  1. Dermott, E 2012, ‘Conceptual Note – the inclusion of ‘parenting’ in the PSE’.
  2. Dermott, E 2012, ‘Poverty versus parenting: an emergent dichotomy’. Studies in the Maternal, vol 14., pp. 1-13
  3. Dermott, E & Seymour, J 2011, ‘Developing 'Displaying Families': a possibility for the future of the sociology of personal life’. in: E Dermott, J Seymour (eds) Displaying Families: a new concept for the sociology of family life. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3 - 18
  4. Haynes, J & Dermott, E 2011, ‘Displaying Mixedness: Difference and Family Relationships’. in: E Dermott, J Seymour (eds) Displaying Families: A New Concept for the Sociology of Family Life. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 145 - 159
  5. Dermott, E 2011, ‘Full-time, Flexible Fathers: challenging an adversarial view of work-family balance’. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, vol 14., pp. 87 - 99

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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